STV1555 – The 2020 US Elections in a Global Context

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States in 2016 and his subsequent term in office has been one of the dominating issues in global news media in the last years. The policies of the Trump government not only had a significant impact on the United States but also on global politics. At the same time, his interaction with the press and the public especially through social media are a unique feature of his presidency. On November 3 2020, the citizens of the United States will go to the polls to elect a new president as well as new senators and members of the House of Representatives. Whether Donald Trump will get to govern for a second term, or if his democratic opponent will be able to enter the White House, and what either result might mean for US as well as global politics will be the core questions around which this course is centred. This course will accompany the build up to the election, the election night, and its aftermath by offering a lecture series with changing speakers from the Department of Political Science, other departments at the University of Oslo, and from outside the university. Besides the question, who will most likely succeed in the presidential election, the course will introduce students to the way in which the presidential elections in the US work, the other electoral races that take place in parallel (e.g. for members of Congress), how the election will shape US politics, what role media plays in the election, and what impact the election will have on different policy fields.

Learning outcome


Having completed this course, students:

  • Have detailed knowledge on the 2020 U.S. presidential election and can interpret the results
  • Have detailed knowledge on other elections happening in parallel (e.g. for Congress)
  • Have a detailed knowledge about the U.S. political system including the role of the presidency, checks and balances, and how elections take place
  • Are aware how different areas of world politics are affected by the U.S. presidential election
  • Have acquired knowledge about contemporary U.S. politics



Having completed this course, students can:

  • Apply different analytical lenses as well as general political science knowledge to understand the impact of the election on the U.S. as well as globally
  • Explain the outcome of the elections
  • Critically assess the media debate on the U.S. presidential election and its impact for world politics


Having completed this course, students can:

  • Find and make use of information about contemporary political events
  • Critically assess information about contemporary political events
  • Understand the significance of elections in a broader democratic context


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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.




Three hour written exam.

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2020


Autumn 2020

Teaching language